Surat Thani Diving
One of Thailand’s most popular dive regions, beautiful Surat Thani’s 112 islands offer white sand beaches, endless reefs and access to world-famous Koh Samui, Koh Tao and more. No matter your skill level, you can surround yourself with colourful corals, macro delights, sea turtles and even whale sharks.
Quieter than neighbouring Koh Tao and Koh Samui, and offering easy crowd-free diving, Koh Phangan is perfect for a peaceful beach and dive holiday. The fringing reefs are busy with colourful fish life, the corals are healthy and you’ll find abundant macro treasures, sea turtles, reef sharks and more.
For easy, relaxed diving with a backdrop of palm trees and white sand beaches, try Koh Samui. This jewel in the Thailand dive crown not only has wrecks, reefs, plunging walls and dramatic drop-offs but some of Thailand’s best dives are just a short boat ride away.
World-famous Koh Tao, with its idyllic white sands and lush island scenery is spectacular and renowned as the place to get your dive certification. Take your pick from 50+ dive sites offering exciting drop-offs, tunnels, reefs, pelagic action and, wherever you look, pristine corals and fish.
Diving in Surat Thani
Bordering the Gulf of Thailand in the South is the beautiful paradise region of Surat Thani, which contains some of Thailand’s top diving hotspots. Consisting of 112 islands, all with seemingly infinite reefs and dramatic underwater topography, it’s no surprise that the region is often included in the world’s premier diving destinations.
The most popular islands are the world-famous Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, all of which are easily accessible by ferry from the mainland. Koh Ang Thong marine national park is also included in this area, which similarly boasts exceptional dive sites suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a diver or not, you’re bound to be engulfed by the islands’ white sandy beaches peppered with swaying palm trees, all surrounded by pristine waters overflowing with diverse marine life. Expect to see an array of species, from colorful hard and soft corals, macro critters like nudibranch and shrimp, tons of tropical reef fish, eels, stingrays and octopus, to bigger critters, like grouper, schools of barracuda, turtles, reef sharks, and even whale sharks.
Diving is great all year round, with excellent visibility, averaging around 20-30 meters. Weather is mostly hot and sunny year-round with water temperatures lingering around 28°C-30°C (82°F-86°F), though there are three distinguishable seasons involving hot, windy and wet seasons. November is the rainy period, when overcast skies and storms occur, causing lesser visibility and choppier seas, but diving is still possible as some sites are sheltered from harsher conditions. May to September is the busiest season, when the weather and diving conditions are the most favourable.
The region has a boatload of dive centers and dive resorts to choose from, catering to all budgets. Dive courses are just as readily available in multiple languages, and are very affordable. The area is popular among those taking their first breaths underwater and advanced divers can also enjoy the relaxing sites here, many even obtain higher-level certifications, thanks to a wealth of varied sites with suitable training conditions for doing so.
The majority of dive sites boast vibrant reefs teeming with colorful life. With exhilarating seascapes in the mix, there's unforgettable wall and cave diving, with interesting tunnels, swim-throughs, caverns, canyons and drop-offs. Plus, phenomenal shipwrecks are included on the list, many of which are suitable for beginner divers to discover. Boat diving is common practice, with many dive operators offering daily trips. Shore diving is possible, though only in certain areas.
Best places to dive
Sail Rock, an iconic site famed for a variety of corals and schools of fish. It's also a hotspot for whale shark encounters. Chumphon Pinnacle is also a must for divers in the area. Similarly, it boasts tons of fish and whale shark visits.
HTMS Sattakut is an ex-Thai navy ship that serves as an artificial reef, and overflows with life. Japanese Gardens is a world-class colourful site boasting a myriad of vibrant life. White Rock is an unmissable spot, with lots of critters on the reef and in sandy spots. Green Rock is similarly an amazing site, with structures to explore and plenty of marine life. Mango Bay is a relaxing site covered with thriving coral reef and tons of tropical marine life.